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Andy Murray: Champion - five things about the new biography

Andy Murray wins the 2012 US Open
by Mark Hodgkinson
Tuesday 27 November 2012

Five things about writing a biography of Britain's first male grand slam singles champion since the 1930s... - Andy Murray: Champion: The Full Extraordinary Story.

1. What happened at The O2 in east London the other day - there was some light booing when he was playing Roger Federer - hasn't changed my view, and this was one of the central parts of the book, that the British public now have a new appreciation of Andrew Barron Murray.

Let's not allow some noisy Swiss fans to make us think otherwise. Of course, it would be naive in the extreme to imagine that all those keyboard warriors who have spent years filling comments pages with their 'anyone but Murray' messages are now going to stop typing, just because the Scot won the Olympics and became the first British man since the Edwardian era to hold up a grand slam singles trophy (in the tennis blogosphere, the dim are still dim, the witless are still witless).

At the last two Grand Slams of the year, Murray showed two different parts of his character, with each as important as the other in the public relations game. The Wimbledon tears demonstrated his softer, emotional side, while the US Open final was a great display of resolve and mental fortitude. Suddenly, Murray and the British public were getting on just fine. Better than fine. And Murray, and his supporters, could stop daydreaming about that parallel tennis universe in which, when being interviewed in the summer of 2006, he didn't make a joke about the England football team.

So Murray, no longer the anti-Christ with a tennis racket, could do something remarkable this December; he could win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.

2. Murray's story is a reminder that the British tennis scene isn't the delicate place that some imagine it to be. There was some talk from other British players as Murray made his way in the sport. Then there was dealing with the occasional character assassinations. A weaker, less cussed character than Murray could have ended up with great rips and tears in his psyche.

3. Of all the people who feature in Murray's professional life, the one with arguably the most intriguing role is his manager Simon Fuller. Why did Murray, who has no love for celebrity froth, hire the former manager of the Spice Girls, the creator of Pop Idol and American Idol and the man who spawned Simon Cowell? That's a question I have tried to answer in the book.

4. Is Murray the most unkempt Grand Slam champion of modern times? I first met Murray when he was 17 and training at an academy outside Barcelona. He showed me around the hut/bungalow/cottage that was his home in Catalonia; there was so much mess on the floor - dirty clothes, rackets, balls and food packets - that opening and closing the door was no easy task.

5. This story will hopefully need several updates. Murray should never be described as a one-Slam wonder. He plainly won't be if he wins another major. But, even if he doesn't, even if he never adds to his victory in New York City, he should never be thought of as the tennis equivalent of the one-hit wonder. Such a description suggests an element of luck, of extreme good fortune. In the golden age of men's tennis, of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, no one 'flukes' a Grand Slam victory.


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